Five Fabulous Aman Resorts in Indonesia

by  James Sturz | Nov 27, 2009
Aman Bali
Aman Bali / Photo courtesy of the property

There are five Aman resorts in Indonesia: One in Java, three in Bali, and one on Moyo Island, 150 miles east of Bali on the Flores Sea. Which you choose should depend on what you want, but if you can’t decide various packages (with names like “Aman Bali Experience” or “Aman Temples & Reef Journey”) make combining two or more easier.

Start in Bali at Amanusa, just 15 minutes from the Denpasar airport; you’ll already have flown long enough and there’s no reason why your vacation shouldn’t start straightaway (Aman’s included Indonesian Concierge Service will help with this, and you’ll smile as you skirt the listless visa and custom lines). Spend the day and night at Amanusa’s stately soccer-field-sized-pool, or at its Beach Club, or spa. Amanusa’s in “new Bali,” so this is also your chance to visit the ex-pat friendly towns of Kuta, Seminyak, Sanur and Legian. Or even play a round of golf.

Still, chances are you’ve come for something else, and that something is almost definitely Amandari, in central Bali, just outside the artistic center of Ubud. It’s hard to imagine a more comfortable resort – with lush green spilling everywhere you look – even if the real thumping heart of the island lies beyond Amandari’s walls. Cycling trips and treks will get you a quick eyeful of the area’s emerald-green rice terraces, but you’ll also want to shop for textiles and wooden crafts in town and stroll its eponymous Monkey Forest. Fortunately, the resort will give you a driver for this.

Or, visit Amankila, in East Bali, a cross between cultural and beach Bali, where you can divide your time among more rice paddies, temples, water palaces, and a black-sand beach. If you’re a scuba diver, this is also your chance to see an ocean sunfish, better known as a mola mola. The average-sized ones grow to six feet in length and weigh 2,200 pounds. They’re the largest bony fishes in the world and look like mammoth swimming lumps of flesh. They also just happen to lurk by the islands off East Bali.

For even more exuberant diving, keep heading east to Amanwana on Moyo Island (you’ll need to take a plane to get there). The luxury tented camp will be your base for exploring the underwater life of the Flores Sea, with its 1,000 species of fish, where the coral easily outdoes the most refined Balinese textiles and where hordes of long-tailed macaques scamper across the grass. Or, instead, head west to Amanjiwo in Central Java, which overlooks 8th-century Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Either way, consider spending one more night at Amanusa before heading home, so you can stretch your vacation to the last minute.

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